By Jeremy Hritz
Quincey Roche Links
Quincey Roche Overview
Quincy Roche was one of the Steelers two 6th round picks, and he put up big numbers at Temple, accumulating 26 sacks, and then adding 4.5 more as a graduate student at the University of Miami. While he kept the stat sheet busy and bolstered his draft recognition through undeniable production, there are questions surrounding Roche’s athleticism and ability to transition to an every down 3-4 outside linebacker. Roche will not be expected to start in his initial year but the Steelers are optimistic he can spell TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith. Where Roche can excel early is with limited responsibilities and reads and the primary goal of rushing the quarterback. This will allow him the time to develop, if he can, his ability to set the edge and play the run, and also fulfill pass coverage responsibilities which are essential as an OLB in the Steelers defense.
Strengths of Roche
Roche was a highly productive player in college, racking up 30 total sacks during his time at Temple where he spent three years, and also at Miami where he was a graduate transfer student for one year. Against more competitive competition in the ACC at Miami, Roche did not meet the sack benchmarks he set at Temple, and saw his total decrease to 4.5. Whether or not this is attributable to learning a new scheme, dealing with the impact of COVID on the season, or stingier competition, the stats are the stats. From that perspective, if math on paper can carry over into the NFL, then such productivity would obviously be good fortune to the Steelers.
Roche has a strong upper body which is important for a pass rusher in terms of hand placement and pass rush moves, but also in terms of setting the edge against the run. This upper body strength helps him compensate for some of his limitations in his leg strength.
Areas of Growth for Roche
The questions surrounding Roche center on his limited athleticism, and whether or not he has the skills to produce at the professional level. His leg strengths is not equal to what is going on up top, and that discrepancy does limit his explosiveness. What will be worth observing is whether or not his motor and desire is enough to overcome his physical limitations and produce against NFL tackles. The athleticism he lacks is not only important in terms of rushing the quarterback, but also playing pass coverage. Should he not be able to compensate for these deficiencies and adjust to the coverage expectations, his role will on the defense will be limited to rushing and stopping the run, making him a two-dimensional player who can only be utilized in certain packages and within certain schemes.
How Does Roche Fit Into the Steelers Depth Chart?
Roche could compete to be the next man up at OLB, as there is very little depth at the position, save for Cassius Marsh (this is still one position the Steelers could address in free agency). He will be given every chance to spell Watt and Highsmith and gather playing experience in his first year, as long as he has a good showing in camp. The Steelers better hope Roche can provide an upgrade over Marsh, especially in the event that one of the starters are injured, because a depleted OLB tandem, similar to the ILB position, will drastically hurt the defense.
What Will Roche Contribute in Year One?
Again, Roche will have every opportunity to show his value and grasp the third OLB spot on the depth chart, but he must have a solid showing in camp. As I mentioned, I believe the Steelers will bring in a free agent outside backer with experience to compete, and I would anticipate Roche being the 4th or 5th guy rather than the 3rd. An edge needs to be explosive, and Roche will have to prove his production can carry over onto the NFL field. I think he can do it, just not in year one. Roche is a developmental player who will probably need a year for the team to truly see what he is capable of contributing.
Steelers Comparable Player
Robinson was an undrafted free agent out of Temple signed by the Steelers in 2012. He was the MAC player of the year in 2009 and made a splash in camp for the Steelers. Produced at Temple, and made a mini-impact but not sustained, bouncing around to several teams.
What Did This New Steeler Study?
Communication studies. You can learn more about this program HERE.
Yay, Nay, or OK?
I want to be enamored by the college production and see that translating to the progressional level, but I see it taking some time. And while I do believe he eventually will be a role player in the rotation, Roche is a few seasons away from that. For those reasons, this pick is just OK.